I walked around my house chanting, “I am braver than I think. I am braver than I think.” I didn’t feel brave, but I was trying to convince myself that I was. My heart was in my throat, and I felt sure that I was going to have a panic attack. My 18 year old son wanted to drive to a friend’s house for the first time. The friend’s house was on a busy city street that was near “the projects” on the other side of the railroad tracks. And it was dark outside. I was desperately trying to be brave, but all I could envision was him being lost in the city in the dark in the projects. I was an emotional mess.
Sometimes life presents us with situations that are harder than we think we can handle. It’s hard to drive to another city for your daughter’s court date for drug possession. It’s hard to work for months on your husband’s disability case. It’s hard to hear that your car has been totaled, and you don’t know how you are going to purchase a new one. It’s hard to get evicted. It’s hard to leave your husband.
Sometimes life demands more of us than we think that we can emotionally, physically, and spiritually give. But we aren’t the only ones that have experienced being overwhelmed by life.
King David of the Bible was a man who was pressed on every side. He was relentlessly pursued by Saul, a man who was crazy with jealousy. His life was constantly in danger as he ran from place to place trying to escape. Later in life he got mired into sin and lust and took Bathsheba for his wife and killed her husband. Afterward their love child died, leaving David laden with guilt and grief. Later in his life, David faced the insurrection of his own son, Absalom.
Here are some of David’s emotions, recorded for posterity:
My heart is in anguish within me;the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. Psalm 55:4-5
David’s heart was in anguish. He was terrified and overwhelmed. He was physically reacting to his circumstances by trembling and fear. Can you relate? Have you experienced these extreme emotions while facing insurmountable obstacles? Have you been overwhelmed by life?
David was afraid. But the Bible records a simple statement of what David did WHEN he was afraid:
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
It sounds trite and simple, but trust truly is our only option. When you find yourself in circumstances that are bigger than you and beyond your emotional ability to cope, you have to make the choice to trust God. You have to trust that “God’s got this.” You have to stop going down the trail of worry and doubt in your mind, and remind yourself that God is bigger than the circumstances that you face. Trust is a choice.
God is bigger than your bills, your diagnosis, and your rebellious teenager’s big mouth. He is bigger than your argument with your husband and your doctor’s visit that you are dreading. He is bigger than migraines and cancer and depression. He simply is bigger. He knows how to shut the lion’s mouth and overthrow the giants that are staring you down. You can trust Him.
When fear causes your heart to lodge inside your throat, stop barreling down that road of fearful thoughts. Take a few deep breaths, calm yourself, and make a choice. Choose to do what David did when he was terrified and afraid: put your trust in God.
Choose to present your requests to God in prayer, as Philippians 4:6 instructs. Once you remember to do this, you will breathe easier, your pulse will slow down, and the tense muscles in your back will start to relax.
When we place our trust in God, we truly are braver than we think. We can face that looming challenge ahead of us, knowing that God is bigger than even it. Trust Him. He won’t let us down.